Chapter six is divided into two parts. The first six verses deal with the principle of reversion recovery, and verse seven through verse twenty deals with the illustrations of reversion recovery.
“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
Therefore having graduated from the elementary teaching about the Christ refers to the incarnation, the Hypostatic Union, the King-priest, the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the perpetuation of His priesthood in resurrection, ascension and session, the Strategic Victory of the Angelic Conflict, our relation to the strategic victory through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent positional truth, and many other classified areas of Christology and soteriology.
This advance was toward the Tactical Victory of the Angelic Conflict and was being held up by the reversionism of the people to whom this passage is being addressed. The laying of the foundation of basic doctrine has occurred in the past and must now occur again. They must repeat, they must relearn what they had once learned before but had lost through reversionism. This time it must be the last time. That is what the negative not means, and it means you’d better learn it this time and stay with it or you’re in trouble. The reason you’ll be in trouble will be the coming disaster of the destruction of Jerusalem. Then we have the Greek word “palin”for again. The word means returning or turning back to repeat a course of action, and “the reversion recovery” demanded that they turn around and repeat a previous course of action. They had to relearn the basic doctrines.
Not laying again a foundation is followed by several doctrines that comprise basic foundational truths that these believers needed to relearn before the writer could teach them advanced doctrine.The first two of these doctrines was the doctrines of repentance from dead works and faith toward God which refers to the basic doctrines of Christology which are necessary to understand this epistle. It does not mean all of the doctrines, but certain doctrines must be understood if they are going to understand the Royal Priesthood and how it is different from the previous Levitical priesthood.
Another doctrine that had to be relearned was the doctrine of washings. The Greek word for washings is “baptismos,” which means dipping, immersion, or washing all over. It is where translators of Scripture got the transliterated word baptism. The verb “baptize” and the noun “baptism” are Greek words that are not translated but transliterated. We know the etymology of the word because of the use of the word in ancient Greek literature. Before these words got into the New Testament they were a thousand years old. So we know exactly what they mean. The Greek word for baptize means to identify one thing with another, to identify with “something else.” “Baptize” is not an English word and the only way to translate it accurately is to give it the proper meaning: to identify, to identify something with something else.
There are seven baptisms found in the Bible. Four of them are dry and three of them are wet, but in each of these baptisms something or someone is identified with something else.
The next doctrine that must be relearned was the doctrine of laying on of hands. The Greek word for and tells us this doctrine is related to baptisms (washings and laying on of hands). Baptism represents identification, and laying on of hands represents identification as well. The Greek word for laying is “epithesis”and means the act of actually placing the hand on something, generally on the head.
Identification is expressed by the laying on of hands. 1) Sacrifices as illustrated by Leviticus 1:4. Throughout the book of Leviticus you find the priest putting one hand on the head of the animal and the other on the one offering the sacrifice. So it is identifying the sins of the guilty. 2) The principle of blessing. In Acts 19:13 the laying on of hands results in blessing. Paul put his hand on people and they were healed — touching for blessing. That only lasted during the time of the apostles. 3) The ordination for the ministry. When the representation of a church puts its hands on the head of a person they are saying that they recognize that the person has the gift of pastor-teacher — the principle of identification in the ordination ceremony.
The next doctrine that needed to be relearned was the resurrection of the dead. Resurrection must be distinguished from resuscitation. In resuscitation a person is brought back from the dead into a body of corruption and will subsequently die again, e.g. Lazarus, but in resurrection a person is brought back from the dead never to die again, the believer is in a body of incorruption. Resurrection is part of the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4, 12-17). Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected. This is the Gospel. Gospel means good news, and the Gospel only deals with the solution to the sin problem, it does not deal with the doctrine of sin as such.
The next doctrine these believers must relearn was the doctrine of eternal judgment. The unbeliever is under condemnation. (John 3:18) The basis of his condemnation is his refusal to believe in Jesus Christ.
The unbeliever has an appointment with physical death. (Hebrews 9:27, 28.) The unbeliever also has an appointment with God (Jesus Christ) at the Great White Throne Judgment. In the interim, the unbeliever who has died resides in a compartment of Hades called Torments. Therefore the unbeliever has a resurrection prior to the last judgment. (Revelation 20) At the last judgment the unbeliever will be resurrected and receive his indictment. His indictment is not based on sin. The sins of the unbeliever were judged on the Cross. The unbeliever’s human good recorded during his lifetime will be the basis of the unbeliever’s indictment at the final judgment because human good works do not measure up to the perfect righteousness of Christ necessary for receiving eternal life. The unbeliever’s condemnation and future will be eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire (Hell). (Revelations 20)
Revelation 20 records four final-day events. Revelation 20:1-3 records the thousand-year period in which Satan will be bound in the Abyss. Revelation 20:4-6 records some brief information about the millennial reign of Christ. Revelation 20:5-10 records the final doom of Satan. Revelation 20:11-15 records information regarding the Great White Throne Judgment.
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ and His army of believers will conquer His enemies at the Battle of Armageddon. The Anti-Christ and the False Prophet will then be cast into the Lake of Fire, Satan will be bound for a thousand years in the Abyss (we know this is temporary because of Revelation 20:7-10). Revelation 20:1-3 describes what is going to happen. An angel from Heaven will come to earth, seize Satan, put him in chains, cast him into the Abyss (bottomless pit) and seal it for a thousand years. This event marks the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and those who reign with Him. Those who reign with Him include believers from the Old Testament, Church Age believers and Tribulation believers.
John saw in his vision thrones (seats of authority) and persons seated on them to whom the authority to judge was given. John saw the tribulation believers who had not succumbed to the deceit of the Anti-Christ (by worshipping him and receiving his mark) reigning with Christ for a thousand years. It is reasonable to believe that all believers who are part of the Lord’s army are in view here as ruling with Him. (Revelation 2:26-28, 3:12,21, 5:10; I Corinthians 6:2-3)
Satan’s deceit of all nations will cease during the Millennium and even though all unbelievers will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation, people will continue to be born in the Millennium. Some of these people will believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and some will reject Him. Therefore, we can conclude that even without Satan on the scene, people will still use their volition to reject Jesus Christ.
Beginning in Revelation 20:7, John records the brief period in which Satan will be released from his prison at the end of the Millennium. When he is released he will be allowed the opportunity to once again attempt to deceive the nations. The nations are called Gog and Magog. Magog first appears in Scripture in Genesis 10:2 as a name of one of Noah’s grandsons. It appears again in Ezekiel 38:2 where Magog is a region and Gog is the prince of the land. This reference in Revelation seems to be used symbolically to refer to the enemies of God. Therefore, the battle at the end of the Millennium is most often called the Battle of Gog and Magog.
From the unbelievers who Satan will deceive, at the end of the Millennium a great army will be gathered to do battle with the Lord Jesus Christ. They will surround the city of Jerusalem where the throne of Jesus Christ will be located. Fortunately, Satan and his army do not get the opportunity to do battle, as they are destroyed by the Lord with fire from Heaven. Satan will then be seized and cast into the Lake of Fire to join the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet who have been there since the end of the Tribulation. As a side note, this proves that the torment in the Lake of Fire (hell) is not annihilation. Their existence is for all eternity where they will experience torment forever.
Revelation 20:11 indicates that the earth and heavens are destroyed at this time (“the earth and the heaven fled away and no place was found for them” - II Peter 3:7-12). John saw the throne of God, which he described as a “great white throne.” For this reason, the final judgment is called The Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment is for unbelievers only from all dispensations. Several books will be opened revealing the works of the unbelievers. And, no amount of human good works adds up to the righteousness of Christ, which is necessary to have eternal life. The Book of Life will also be opened revealing the fact that no one is justified by his good works because everyone who was ever born is written in the Book of Life at birth before they have the opportunity to do one good work. However, their name will be blotted out of this book if they fail to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 3:5, 13, 8; 21:27; 20:11-15)
Believer’s cannot be condemned and will not be judged, but will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers only and takes place sometime shortly after the Rapture of the Church. At the Rapture, all living and dead believers from the Church Age will meet Jesus Christ in the air and will be led in a processional to Heaven, having received a glorified body like Christ’s, fully conscious, fully recognizable and with increased knowledge. God’s Word seems to indicate that there will then be a time of celebration, when we worship and praise our Savior.(I Corinthians 4:5; 15:51-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:21)
“And this we shall do if God permits.”
Many of the believers in Jerusalem were reversionistic and being in reversionism they had just been challenged by the writer to recover. So now they had the choice to begin the recovery process from reversionism. But it takes consistent faithfulness to the Word of God; listening to and applying the teaching of the Word constantly. Being in reversionism they had rejected the authority of their pastor, as well as his message and this made it even more difficult for them to recover. Getting back on track by studying, learning, believing, applying doctrine, growing spiritually and finally recovering was going to take some time.
This refers to graduating from the basic doctrines of Christology related to soteriology, and therefore beginning again the advance toward spiritual maturity. We will do means to enter into the process of recovery. The condition of recovery was based on the sovereignty of God in permitting these believers to live long enough to recover. We never know whether we have another day or not, only God knows that, it is a matter of divine sovereignty. It takes a lot of time to learn or relearn doctrine. These believers could have accomplished the tactical objective of spiritual maturity if God permitted them to live long enough to do it. That is what this verse is saying.